“My boarding house”, as my mother-in-law calls her senior living facility in Rochester, has one of the best restaurants in town. We ate at “Le Petite Bistro” tonight where I ordered the mussels with Calamata olives in a delicious garlic broth as my appetizer. It was out of this world or at least European. I overheard this guy at another table talking about Sister Bridget and looked over and thought this must be a different Sister Bridget than the one I had in first grade at St. John the Evangelist on Humboldt Road in the city. This guy looked so old. But the woman he was talking to said something about the Sisters of Mercy so I figured it could be the same one. I remember her as being so comfortable. That’s a pretty vague description but it was an important quality for me at that age. i stood up and asked if this could possibly be the same Sister Bridget and they confirmed that she had taught there.
My second grade teacher was a miserable nun and maybe that’s why I remember Sister Bridget so fondly. I remember that one asking for a show of hands on who still believed in Santa Claus. And then there was an endless parade of kooks who told tall tales with twisted moral underpinnings and seemed to delight in torturing the kids that called her bluff. But I still feel that this Catholic education had its merits. And for me they are best expressed in Buñuel and Felini movies.
We watched “The Reader” last night and I couldn’t figure out the guy. I understood him as a boy getting it on with the woman and I dug the woman but I never could figure out the guy as a man. What was his problem? I really dug the woman’s prison room too. It was so cozy. I completely understood her not wanting to leave it. It was smaller than my dorm room in Shea Hall at Indiana University but it was all her own. As a freshman in college I had the room to myself for three days before the other guy whose name was on the door with mine showed up. I had already called home and told my parents that I thought I had an Asian roommate based on his name, “Hoy”, but when Steve pulled up in a Baracuda and asked for help unloading the stereo equipment I knew I was not going to be able to control my situation.
I was determined to turn over a new leaf in college. I was going to study and read my assignments instead of coasting like I did all through high school. But I could not resist Steve’s “Led Led Zeppelin”, “Paul Butterfield” and “Cream” eight tracks. Steve wasn’t Asian at all but 100% Hoosier and he was damn good at coasting so there went my plans. I was thinking of Steve tonight when I mopped up the garlic broth from my mussels. Peggi saw me and asked, “what was that phrase that Steve had for cleaning your plate with your bread? That would be “walloping your dodger.”